Looking to lose weight without missing out on delicious foods? Weight loss on the Mediterranean diet can be sustainable, flavorful, nutritious, and easy!
Many dietitians and doctors recommend a Mediterranean diet to prevent disease and maintain good health. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes flavorful ingredients like heart-healthy fats, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. The diet is both nutritious and delicious, and those who follow it can benefit from increased longevity, regulated blood sugar levels, and good heart health.
Why Is The Mediterranean Diet So Popular?
The Mediterranean diet has consistently been ranked the healthiest way to eat for the sixth year in a row! This ranking is based on factors such as how easy it is to follow, the evidence supporting it, and its ability to reduce risk of diseases and promote weight loss. The Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle that incorporates delicious food, regular exercise, mindful eating, and stress reduction practices.
If you’re wondering how you can lose weight on the Mediterranean diet and what the evidence is to support the Mediterranean diet for weight loss, you’re in the right place.
What To Consider On Your Weight Loss Journey
When you start your weight loss journey on a Mediterranean diet, it’s crucial to remember that several factors affect the outcome of your ability to lose weight on the Mediterranean diet. Here are three few things to consider:
1. Your Eating Habits
Consistency is so important when on a weight loss journey, especially with food habits. Instead of feeling like you have to eat perfectly all the time, we recommend focusing on a few key habits that you can follow most of the time. Here are a few examples:
- Eat regular meals throughout the day, with nutritious snacks
- Wait for at least 15-20 minutes before getting a second serving to let your body process if you’re still hungry
- Listen to your body for signs of fullness
- Enjoy a variety of whole foods
- Limit processed foods
2. Include Exercise In Your Plan
Exercise and physical activity should be part of your lifestyle to maintain good health even when you’re not on a weight loss journey. Challenge yourself to try a new form of movement, progress from one level to the next, or increase the intensity.
Instead of relying on motivation to exercise regularly, it’s all about making a realistic plan that you can stick to for the long-term. Your discipline will help you stay committed when your motivation fluctuates.
3. Drink Plenty Of Water
Whatever your weight loss plan, staying hydrated will help you feel and function your best! Dehydration may cause fatigue and increased hunger, as we often confuse thirst for hunger!
Regular water intake is vital for:
- Increased energy
- Supporting the immune system
- Aiding digestion
- Protecting your joints
- Keeping your skin healthy
- Recovering from exercise
Is The Mediterranean Diet A Weight Loss Diet?
The Mediterranean diet can be helpful for people trying to lose weight and expand their healthy habits. Losing weight with the Mediterranean diet is possible by keeping in mind the following:
- Eat often: Vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, seeds, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, fish and seafood
- Eat in moderation: Cheese, eggs, poultry, and yogurt
- Eat rarely: Sugar-sweetened beverages, red meat, refined grains, processed meat, and other highly processed foods
The Mediterranean diet is made up of nutrient-dense foods and may help you lose weight by paying attention to portion sizes, hunger cues, mindful exercise, and ingredients.
What Is The Evidence For Weight Loss On A Mediterranean Diet?
Research shows that the Mediterranean diet resulted in greater weight loss over 12 months or longer compared to a low-fat diet. The Mediterranean diet also helps to improve cardiovascular risk factor levels like lipid levels and blood pressure.
Another review published in the journal Nutrients, looked at the ability of the Mediterranean diet to promote weight loss and compared outcomes to Atkins, Ornish, GI, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), and Paleo diets. The study found that the Mediterranean diet was more flexible and less restrictive in delivering desired weight loss results. In addition, one of the studies in the review found that participants lost an average of 8.7% of body weight on the Mediterranean diet after 12 months.
Long-term adherence to the diet is associated with reduced risk of gaining back the weight that was lost. Not only can the Mediterranean diet support weight loss, but there is strong evidence that good adherence to the Mediterranean diet can:
- Lower heart disease risk by up to 30%
- Help individuals maintain their weight loss over the long term
- Reduce risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 52%
- Support gut microbiota and reduce markers of inflammation for longevity
Why The Mediterranean Diet Often Supports Weight Loss
While the Mediterranean diet isn’t strictly a weight loss program, studies show that adding fruits and vegetables and cutting down on processed foods and added sugar can promote better weight control.
The diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, legumes, and seafood. Unsaturated fats that are good for the heart are found in foods like olive oil, nuts, & seeds. The diet limits consumption of highly processed and saturated fats.
How To Maintain Long-Term Weight Loss With The Mediterranean Diet
Losing weight is no easy feat. Weight management depends on many complex factors, including your health status, physical activity levels, and dietary habits. A few fundamental principles can maximize your chances of weight loss on a Mediterranean diet.
The most vital factor in maintaining consistency is being in a calorie deficit. Your daily calorie requirements depend on height, sex, health status, muscle mass, and physical activity levels.
Other tips include:
- Choose a healthy breakfast and make sure to include protein. Options include oatmeal with nut butter, eggs, and Greek yogurt with a mix of veggies or fruits
- Meal prep: Decide on two or three easy lunches and dinners each week to limit the number of ingredients you must buy and meals you must cook.
- Meal prep your snacks. Eat whole foods for snacks such as apples with nuts or a cheese stick with fruit.
- Focus on food enjoyment
Mediterranean Diet Recipes For Weight Loss
By this point, you must be wondering what your Mediterranean diet to lose weight should entail. Here are a few recipe samples to get you started.
- Breakfast: Busy Morning Egg Muffins + whole wheat toast
- Lunch: Easy Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Salad
- Dinner: Sheet Pan Panko-Crusted Dijon Salmon
- Breakfast: Blueberry Peanut Butter Overnight Oats
- Lunch: Open-Faced Tuna Melt + Fruit
- Dinner: Veggie Lasagna with a Side Salad
- Breakfast: Avocado Toast with Eggs + Fruit
- Lunch: Leftover Sheet Pan Salmon over Green Salad
- Dinner: Dijon Chicken + Parmesan and Herb Roasted Zucchini + Brown Rice
Using The Mediterranean Diet To Reach Your Weight Goals
Our course, Living Fully Mediterranean is an 8-week online self-paced program that can help you lose weight, keep it off, and reduce your risk for chronic disease. Learn more about how this course gives you the steps to incorporate the Mediterranean diet into your lifestyle. We are here to encourage and empower you in your health journey.